A new 2015 construction outlook report released by Dodge Data & Analytics predicts that total U.S. construction starts for 2015 will rise 9% to $612 billion.
Here are some highlights of the report, which is based on research of specific construction market sectors:
Commercial building will increase 15%, slightly faster than the 14% gain estimated for 2014. Office construction has assumed a leading role in the commercial building upturn, aided by expanding private development as well as healthy construction activity related to technology and finance firms. Hotel and warehouse construction should also strengthen, although the pickup for stores is more tenuous.
Institutional building will advance 9%, continuing the moderate upward trend that's been established during 2014. The educational building category is now seeing an increasing amount of K-12 school construction, aided by the financing made available by the passage of recent construction bond measures.
Public works construction will improve 5%, a partial rebound following the 9 percent decline estimated for 2014. Highway and bridge construction should stabilize, and modest gains are anticipated for environmental public works. Federal spending restraint will be offset by a greater financing role played by the states, involving higher user fees and the increased use of public-private partnerships.
Manufacturing plant construction will settle back 16%, following the huge increases reported during both 2013 (up 42%) and 2014 (up 57%) that reflected the start of massive chemical and energy-related projects. Next year's volume remains quite high by recent historical standards.